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Connecting the Byron community: Day 1

July 5, 2011

Map of Byron Bay - from http://gvbyronbayblog.com/

My colleague Geoff and I are getting on the plane this afternoon for our first series of meetings with members of the community up in Byron Bay. While there, we’ll be catching up with Max Haim, the local internet go-to guy, our associates from Northern Rivers Tourism, and a few others, including Rick from Byron-bay.com, one of the region’s leading community directory sites. We’re genuinely excited to hit the ground and start talking to people – our community platform will only work if the community owns it, so it’s great to start to understand what drives and motivates the people of Byron Shire and the surrounding areas.

It’s a starting point toward really getting into the heart of what Byron people are all about.

Despite operating professionally in and around social media for the last few years, I’ve actually been quite stunned at the number of businesses, community groups, and people that are active users of social media in the Byron area.

I came across nearby Lismore City Council’s Mayor even – Jenny Dowell – who tells me that she is an active proponent of getting more people in the Northern Rivers to actively use social media as a communication mechanism. Here in my own local council of Warringah (near Manly in Sydney), my council still hasn’t discovered social media as they’re seemingly still too afraid to get on board! Great to see local councillors getting on board and communicating directly with their constituents online.

We’ve also been using our social media monitoring tools to discover between 600 and 1,000 social media conversations coming from the area every day. In a Shire the size of Byron (Approx 30,000 people), it reinforces the notion of the tight bond and sense of community they share.

I’ve already found my favourite pub (Stone & Wood Brewery), favourite wine merchant (Latino Cellar),  a number of outstanding photographers and artists, as well as community leaders, bands, and so many others. All this from a few days of research via social media channels.

If you live in and around Byron Shire and are among the leaders in community, business, sports, or the arts Community Engine would love to talk to you about how we can connect the Shire more effectively via the Byron Community ecosystem, launching later this year. Like any other social networking platform, it will be completely free to join and use, and will empower a community bond around shared interest and passions like nothing else before it.

If you live in the area and are interested, you can find me by commenting on this blog, or on Twitter at @eyeonbyron.

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